tv BBC World News PBS December 4, 2010 12:30am-1:00am PST
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small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now "bbc world news." >> the spanish military is ordered to take over air traffic control as an unofficial strike leaves tens of thousands of travelers stranded. maintaining the special relationship, the wikileaks website reveals details about britain's feelings about the u.s. deadlock on the ivory cost the opposition leader is a big one to the presidential election but the army is backing his rival. welcome to bbc news, broadcast around the world on pbs in america and around the globe. coming up later for you -- guilty, a former member of the british parliament admits dishonesty claiming thousands of pounds in expenses. and if at first you don't succeed, another conference on climate change. but can i deal be done this time.
the government in spain has authorized the armed forces to take charge of air traffic if striking civilian contractors do not return to work. several airports across spain, including madrid, were forced to close after control staff called in sick as part of the working conditions. tens of thousands of travelers are stranded. >> civilian passenger jets about to be under military control. for tens of thousands of spaniards, it should be the starred of a public holiday weekend but after air traffic trollers refused to turn up for work, flights have been canceled and travelers left stranded. this passenger waiting to leave majorca said there's little to to besides hang in there and bury it. >> we have no idea, just found
out. we've been told after 1:00, they can't tell us anything. and if they feel like -- if they feel like working at 1:00, then maybe we'll fly. but we have no idea if we should stay, if we should go or -- >> the spanish government is taking the unprecedented step of obtaining a royal decree, aliouing the military to take control of air traffic in an emergency. the prime minister has set the defense ministry to exercise the control, the direction of general air traffic throughout the national territory until there are guarantees that normalcy and the provision of their services could be recovered by civil controllers. the chief of the army will take all of the decisions concerning organization, planning, supervision and control of air traffic controllers. >> it's not clear what airports will reopen or what the role of
military controllers will be. the government is restructuring effects over plans to partially privatize some airports. air traffic controllers earning high salaries is not what the country needs, say critics. painful australia terry measures including puckett sector pay cuts are introduced to drive down spain's deficit. for those travelers who just wanted a weekend getaway, it's now a question of waiting and hoping to fly, military permitting. >> hillary clinton has told the bbc she spent much of the past week reassuring world leaders about the way the united states conducts its diplomacy. answering questions in bahrain about the wikileaks controversy, the u.s. secretary of state said she expressed her regrets to anyone offended by the leaked information but said diplomacy was a tough business. she also regretted suggestions that washington doesn't value the sacrifices made by british troops in afghanistan. the bbc world affairs editor john simpson reports.
>> david cameron showing barack obama around westminster. all british and american leaders since 1945 have been condemned to seem friendly. america may often be patronizing but it needs its usually uncritical main ally just as much as britain has pain. need to be reassured. a wikileaks quote from the u.s. embassy released by the garden tonight sums it up neatly. though tempting to argue that keeping her majesty's government off-balance about its current standing with us might make london more throg respond favorably when pressed for assistance. in the long run, it's not in u.s. interests. the criticisms of britain's performance in afghanistan have been, of course, particularly painful. we and president karzai agree, said one of the american
wikileaks documents, that without extra forces the british are not up to the task of securing helmand. they are so embarrassed by this that hillary clinton apologized profusely for it today in a bbc interview. >> i personally want to convey to the government and the people of the united kingdom both our deep respect and admiration for the extraordinary efforts and i regret if anything that was said by anyone suggests to the contrary. >> what have we learned from the welter of documents leaked this week? to be honest, not a huge amount. british generals complain just as much about british ones as americans do about the british. saudi arabia would like america to bomb iran. well, awkward maybe. but we guessed it already. north korea has been the solitary major surprise.
seeing they wouldn't mind seeing north korea under south korea was a real eye-opener. >> it harms the principle of confidentiality of diplomatic relations, which is an essential element of our diplomacy and i'm sure there are some leaders seeing materials published about themselves who will think twice about how candidly they will speak to us on future occasions. >> so what's happening about the chief leaker, julianna, who appeared on the guardian website today? it will be ten days before any action can be taken about the remarkably coincidental extradition bid against him from sweden. in case he disappears from the scene, he says, he's past the rest of the material to thousands of other people. john simpson, bbc news.
>> the bbc's aaron mckenzie is in washington and he says the wikileaks revelation reflected the special relationship between the u.s. and the u.k. >> these latest revelations won't change the way the u.k. and the united states work together, the memos make it very clear it's more the british media and chattering classes feeding the idea that the special relationship was fading. the politicians, it seems, were much less jittery. however, a potentially embarrassing picture of senior conservative politicians effectively bending over backwards to please the americans, promising much closer political ties, even offering honesty to keep things sweet. but in the end the men ultimately conclude the special relationship at least have some strategic value for the united states. for that reason, they say it's important that the u.k. public and british government are both made to feel valued. >> president obama has now left the main u.s. air base in
afghanistan after an unannounced visit. he had been there to meet the afghan president hamid karzai but the white house said bad weather prevetchted him from traveling to kabul. the two men did talk over a secure telephone link. mr. obama also spoke to of an troops at bagram air base. he thanked them for their service, particularly during the american holiday season and assured them that they were making important progress against the taliban. >> great to be back. i apologize for keeping you guys up late, coming up such short notice, but i wanted to make sure that i can spend this holiday with the men and women of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known and that's all of you. i want to thank general petraeus
not only for the introduction and the t-shirt but for general petraeus' lifetime of service. this is somebody who has helped change the way we fight wars and win wars in the 21st century, and i am very grateful that he agreed to take command of our efforts here in afghanistan. he has been an extraordinary warrior on behalf of the american people. thank you, david petraeus. >> the opposition candidate, an ivory coast presidential election, has declared himself the new head of state despite the election victory being overturned by the constitutional court. he received strong backing from the united nations, african grouping and france, the former colonial power. world leaders led by u.s. president barack obama urged the incumbent'ss to respect the will
of the people. but he said he will accept the results and is due to be sworn in saturday. the election was supposed to restore stability in the ivory coast, which was split by civil war in 2002. in new york, the u.n. security council failed to agree on a statement backing the opposition presidential candidate. the bbc's u.n. correspondent barbara plat has this report. >> here in new york the secretary-general ban ki-moon issued a statement backing the opposition candidate. he congratulated him for winning the election and also called on the incumbent president to cooperate in a smooth transition of power. now he was basically endorsing the position that already been taken by his representative in the country who accepted the provisional election result, which favored the opposition candidate and rejected the official result, which favored the president. this is quite a strong position for the united nations to take
but in this particular case, the u.s. had been strictly mandated to monitor every phase of the election to make sure it is reasonably free and fair but also to certify the outcome of the vote. it would have been a stronger position if the security council also backed him but they were not able to agree on a statement and u.n. diplomats said russia and china raised traditional objections about any idea of interfering in the domestic affairs of a country and this particular case backing a certain candidate. earlier in the week it was easier for the security council to reach agreement then it warned that it was ready to take action against anyone who might obstruct the vote. it's not clear if that means the council will not consider imposing some kind of sanctions on the leadership if the president doesn't step down. but it seems that mr. bagwell at the moment is remaining quite defiant and his adviser has actually threatened to expel the u.n. envoy. >> barbara plat reporting there. hundreds of demonstrators in the
sri lankan capital colombo have protested against the british government for they called inadequate security for the sri lankan president during his visit to britain. the demonstrations in london against the president caused the cancellation of a speaking engage the at oxford university. ten days after north korea attacked the south korea island killing four people, so has set up the rhetoric. speaking to parliamentary, the country's new defense minister threatened to bomb north korea if it carried out further attacks. israeli police have arrested two men on suspicion of involvement in the huge forest fire that's raging out of control in northern israel. an international effort is under way to help the country with special aircraft and teams of firefighters. at least 41 people have been killed and tens of thousands evacuated. you're watching bbc news. still to come -- no end in sight. a warning that britain's big chill could extend into the new
year. at least half the city of venice is under way due to a combination of bad weather and hard times. water levels are at the highest levels after weeks of rain. from italy, our correspondent duncan kennedy reports. historical center of venice, knee-deep in flooding. days of heavy rain and high normal of tides led to water rushing into the city. more than 50% of the center has been deluged with the water recorded at 136 centimeters above sea level, the highest this year. some raised walkways stayed intact and others submerged. venice has well rehearsed procedures at times like these but can't always control the
forces of nature. shop keepers and other businesses try to fight the invasion. they are on flood alert, one short of the most serious warning. venice wrestled for decades with the problems of rising sleafls. unesco warned this site is threatened by climate change. a long-delayed flood barrier won't be finished for another two years. rome hasn't escaped the appalling weather either. the river is raised to dangerously high levels. there was barely a day in november when it didn't pour down in the capital and that's why this is now so swollen. the island in the middle of the river looks even more isolated than usual and authorities hope the break in the record will help the volumes subside and this city and others like venice can be given a chance to dry out and recover.
duncan kennedy, bbc news, in rome. >> you're watching bbc news. the headlines this hour -- spanished arm forces have taken charge of national air traffic control because of a strike by civilian staff. the latest documents from the wikileaks website revealed details about the relationship between britain and the united states. a former member of the british parliament has become first politicians who receive a criminal conviction in connection with last year's parliamentary expenses scandal. david chater, who belongs to the then-governing labor party, admitted fraudulently claiming more than 20,000 pounds. here's our political correspondent ian watson. >> he was a laborer for 13
years. today he has a criminal conviction. david chateous is guilty of three charges of false accounting and failed to scompen so seriously he was taken to court. >> nobody should be allowed to take money they were not entitled to. by his actions, david chater has abused the trust placed him in by the public. >> in court today, he admitted to dishonestly claiming nearly 2,000 pounds for i.t. services, dishonestly claiming nearly 5.5 thousand pounds for renting a property for his mother and dishonestly claiming nearly 13,000 pounds for renting a property in london for which in fact he owned. it looks like an old council block but the flat was a prime location in westminster. once he paid off his mortgage on it, he started to make new claims for rent. they said he was renting for a house that turned out to be his daughter. the property records suggest
david himself still owned the flat, making him ineligible for housing cost and parliamentary authorities at westminster. >> we take seriously any breaches of rules on expenses. it's for the court to reach its judgment in that case. i think it's very, very important to do all we can as we have done in parliament to clean up our expense. >> the whole expensive storm hit westminster in spring 2009. we had the m.p.'s flipping addresses and there's the infamous claim for the duck house and politicians suggested for a period of pommeling for the press. but it soon became clear that a few cases were far more serious. earlier this year the m.p., including david, quharged with criminal offenses. initially he denied breaking the law. >> i want to explain my case, explain what happened. have i knowledge that there is an error here and i want to
clear my name. >> instead he admitted his guilt. some of his former constituents say he's let them down. >> he's strong obviously what he did. he should be made to pay it back. >> people are put in these traditions. >> m.p.'s are careful not to make slipups in their expenses these days but hoping the conclusion of the current court cases put an end to the bleak view that voters have with politicians. in watson, bbc news, westminster. >> meteorologists warned the severe weather blanking britain could extend into the new year. it continues to cause serious disruption. >> braymar, in the arctic grip with temperatures below minus 20, narrowly missing the record held by the highland village of ken brace, that was minus 21.
>> minus 14. >> weather experts say the cold snap is being caused by what's called a blocking anti-scline. >> the normal run of weatherly winds, which we normally get in the u.k. is being suspended and the winds coming in from peculiar angles from the u.k. current indications are this weather pattern's blocked regime is going to continue for a few weeks to come, and no sign of anything significantly mideler this side of next year. >> the cold snap ended its second week with new reminders of the threat it can pose. in cambria, two pensioners had been found dead in their gardens. police believe one of them, 80-year-old lily, had fallen unnoticed close to her home. >> she fell in the yard. so i assume she must have fell on the snow. well, that would be icy cold, wouldn't it? wouldn't take long for anything
to happen to anybody. >> on tuesday william wilson died in his garden at kirby steven. those who cared for the elderly have called on communities to be wear of the vulnerable. but there are signs that the bad weather has stirred a large number of good samaritans. >> this is the worst bit of the journey. >> in evening in yorkshire a neighbor in a four by four came to the neighbor. >> it was slippery outside. unless you have a four by four to get around in, you do struggle on these roads. those that have tried to come in got stuck hn to go back. >> temperatures stuck all or below freezing are still wreaking havoc with railtimetables, particularly in scotland where most services north of the central belt have been canceled. the icy conditions also posing a
continuing chet to unwary drivers. these were the conditions in northumberland. conditions shared with east yore shire, covered by a further nine inches of snow. clearing major roots remains a priority. today the government held a meeting to discuss how things had gone and what preparations were in place for the weekend. >> local authorities have got somewhere just under a million tons of grit in their stores. the highway's agencies got about another quarter of a million tons in stock and we've got several hundred thousand tons more on its way to the u.k. >> tonight those who would normally look forward to a friday evening out with friends would be excused for having second thoughts. it's minus 4 here in suri and a great deal lower elsewhere. a great deal of predictions suggest even the best-laid plans would be fully tested in the coming weeks. >> delegates for nearly 200 countries are gathering in cancun, mexico, this weekend for talks on climate change.
the conference is the latest in a series aimed at producing a new treaty on global warming. >> in the depth of this great british freeze, it's hard to imagine how the latest figures can show that the average world temperature is actually reaching new heights. this year is heading to be one of the warmest on record. that might be believable if you're in the mexican resort of cancun right now. that's the venue for the latest round of united nations talks aimed at tackling global warming. the climate change secretary heading there tomorrow is hopeful. >> i have a great belief the quality of the signs, of the evidence continuing to mount will finally persuade people to pull back from the brink and get their signatures on the legally binding deal. >> what's at stake is a deal to cut pollution. the greenhouse gases widely accepted to be warming the climate. but the biggest polluter, china, doesn't want to be in a treaty.
and america, groped by recession, doesn't either, especially with the republicans making big gains in the recent elections. >> millions of people who joined congress were even more skeptical of the climate science and certainly more knowledgeable and skeptical of the climate economics than those who came before them. they're not going to join any treaty that makes the u.s. put on a new shirt. >> efforts to get international action have been longed and often faltering. back in 1992 the earth summit in rio, countries agreed to tackle dangerous climate change. five years later, the kyoto protocol was agreed but it went ahead without america and china. they never accepted targets for cuts. then last year a summit in copenhagen was meant to produce a new global treaty, but only led to the copenhagen accord, nothing legally binding. and some think nothing more is possible. among them, john prescott, the former deputy prime minister who
battled to negotiate the kyoto protocol and now says the failure at copenhagen means a formal treaty may never happen. >> there wasn't a chance of getting a legal agreement if that's what you're trying to do as i did at kyoto in 1997. you have to find a way for a more voluntary system. >> in cancun, the mexican president unveiled a wind turbine meant to power the talks. it's not spinning rapidly. and greenpeace launched a balloon filled with hot air, exactly what this u.n. process is accused of. expectations are low wild levels of greenhouse gases just keep rising. david shipman, bbc news. >> spanish police have released cctv footage showing off-duty policemen rescuing a spanish man who fell onto the track at the porta dell angel station in madrid. the 41-year-old man you can see on the left of the screen in the platform loses his balance and
falls on to the track. the cctv footage then shows passengers on the opposite side of the platform beginning to realize that a train is coming into the station. they all try desperately to alert the conductor of the incoming train. you can see them waving at the incoming train. a 30-year-old off-duty policeman, who graduated from the police academy just two months ago, rushes on to the tracks. here's the footage showing him pulling the man cleared just in time before the train arrives. what a rescue. a reminder of our main news -- the military in spain has taken over the country's air traffic system. several airports across spain, including madrid, were forced to close after control staff called in sick as part of a protest over working conditions. in other news, the american secretary of state, hillary clinton, has said she spent a considerable amount of time reassuring world leaders about the conduct of american
diplomacy. that follows the provocation by the wikileaks website of thousands of diplomatic cables. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold. get the top stories from around the world and deloik play video reports. go to bbc/come -- bbc.com/news and reporting of bbc news online. >> funding was made possible by -- the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and katherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank.
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